June 12, 2014

authentic taiwan milk tea recipe

Raise your hand if you are addicted to milk tea.

Yes, I see you. And you, and you. For those of you who haven’t tried it yet, I’m not sure if you should: It’s very habit-forming, and can be pretty expensive to go out and buy. When I was ten, I remember a D.A.R.E. officer telling us that some people were so addicted to cigarettes that they would would smoke a pack a day, and at $3.50/pack, that came out to over a thousand dollars a year! My jaw dropped. A THOUSAND BUCKS TO KILL YOURSELF?!

Well, my boba-loving friends, sometimes I wonder if we’re in the same boat. Instead of cigarettes, it’s milk tea… and instead of cancer, it’s diabetes or obesity or something. But the $3.50 price tag sounds about right, and I’m willing to bet there are some of you who, if you really thought about it, guzzle down this frothy liquid almost daily. Some of you even get it twice in a day sometimes:once after lunch, and again that evening when a friend texts to see if you’re free. Oh… well… for the sake of hanging out. Yes, yes. I suppose I will have to just get another one… *giddy laughter inside*.

How did I know about that? Yes, it’s me too.

This is how I came to realize that I was addicted to milk tea. Now, addressing the addiction is probably the heart of the matter, but I’m not ready for that yet, so until then, I will merely search for a way to minimize the cost of it: MAKE IT YOSELF!authentic taiwan milk tea

I’ve tried, JoEllen, I’ve tried! It’s just not the same. It doesn’t taste as good.

Yes, I hear you. I, too, have been trying for the last 15 years to nail down the perfect milk tea recipe myself, to little avail. As the options of milk tea shops keep expanding, so my milk tea taste buds keep getting refined. I have never been able to make a satisfying cup of milk tea to adequately stave off the next milk tea run… until now.

My faithful mommy group has come through for me once again. What does milk tea have to do with mommy-ing, you ask? Um… Milk tea = happy mom. Happy mom = happy family…?

When someone posed the question about making milk tea at home, not only did a whole bunch of people start following the conversation (literally, they just commented with “following” to make sure they were sent all the replies from other comments), but others shared useful tidbits! One was this youtube video:

If you’re not up for a six-minute video, you can jump straight to the recipe below. I’ve tried three versions: Lipton decaffeinated tea, Earl Grey tea, and the Red Rose Tea that was recommended in the video. The Red Rose Tea turned out the best and was definitely satisfactory in quenching my milk tea thirst! I’ve tried it with various combinations of brown and cane sugar, and couldn’t really tell the difference, so I think you’re okay either way on that. Also, I like to chill my sweetened tea before mixing it with the creamer and ice– it gets less watery that way.

11/18/15 Update: For green milk tea, I plan to try out Possmei Jasmine Green Tea, which I saw the workers at Tous Le Jour mixing up. Will post a recipe after I try it!

Last week, I made a big batch of milk tea for friends. I started with a big pot of tea (edit: I used the recipe below, and multiplied the proportions by ~10):

making a big batch of taiwan milk tea

After steeping, the tea should be as dark as black coffee:

make your own taiwan milk tea

Shake it with ice and creamer, and you’re done!

make your own taiwan milk tea 2

We had a bunch of friends over, so I set up a milk tea station with directions so they could each shake up their own beverage:

Milk Tea Station

That worked out pretty well, but a couple days ago, I made another big batch and decided to just just whir everything together in a Vitamix and served it out of a pitcher. It was just as good (and a lot less work).

pitcher of taiwan milk tea

Several of my friends with highly discriminating milk tea palettes gave me the “It’s legit!” on this round of taste tests, so it is now post-worthy. Here you go. Be sure to use 8 ounces of water per serving to steep your tea– this is not the time to stretch your dollar (or cents). Watery milk tea is not nearly as satisfying!

I’ll really have to control myself so my body doesn’t suffer from this dangerous recipe discovery– I’m pretty sure I consume enough sugar as it is! I, for one, am content to end my milk tea recipe search here. Perhaps now you can, too!


Taiwan Milk Tea Recipe
Makes 1 serving of milk tea



  1. Steep tea bags in 8 oz. hot water for ~5 minutes. Remove tea bags and add cane sugar. Stir until completely dissolved. Edit 11/18/15: After steeping for 5 minutes, stir, and then let steep for 5 more minutes. This gives more tea flavor, which I like.
  2. Fill a cocktail shaker with 1/2 cup ice and creamer.
  3. Pour tea into shaker and shake until outside of shaker is cold. Before sealing the lid onto your shaker, you might want to stir the liquid about in the ice a bit first to cool down the tea. Pour into glass and enjoy with a straw!

If you want an even more pronounced tea flavor, then follow these directions:

  1. Steep tea bags in 8 oz. hot water for ~5 minutes. Remove tea bags and add cane sugar. Stir until completely dissolved.
  2. Chill sweetened tea in refrigerator until cold.
  3. Fill a cocktail shaker with 2 cubes of ice and creamer.
  4. Pour tea into shaker and shake until outside of shaker is cold. Pour into glass and enjoy with a straw!

3/3/2016 Edit: I just tried making Mango Milk Tea by using Mango Ceylon tea bags instead- SO GOOD!



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64 responses to “Taiwan Milk Tea Recipe”

  1. Sounds delicious. I love tea and milk! Such a great combo!

  2. Diana says:

    I made it this morning and it was delicious! (I made it with a little less sugar and it was still yummy!) Thank you for the recipe!

    • joellen says:

      You’re welcome! So glad you liked it! I made some for my mom today and she enjoyed it, too 🙂 She also said she would like it with less sugar haha.

  3. Angela says:

    I used to be quite the addict, as you very well know, until I started watching my sugars. I am very picky about the milk teas I am willing to consume now. However, I’d gladly drink yours any day without guilt since it’ s now one of my ultimate favorites!

    • joellen says:

      Woohoo! And I know you have a very discerning milk tea palette, so that means a lot to me! 🙂

  4. Dakota says:

    Oh no. My husband is not going to let me rest until I make this! He loves this stuff… on that note, if you happen to have a recipe for Thai pineapple fried rice, I’d be all ears. 🙂 One question, we really don’t do the powdered creamer around here… I’ve got milk or coconut milk (from a can, not the replacement milk)… which and how much would you recommend I substitute?

    • joellen says:

      Oh I’ve never tried making my own Thai pineapple fried rice, but just typing those words is making my mouth water! As for the milk tea, I’m really not sure on how to substitute that, but a recipe on yummly.com says 1 cup of coconut milk (and only 2 teaspoons of sugar):

      Seems like a lot of coconut milk, but I guess it’s a place to start! If I were to try it, I’d start with half a cup of coconut milk and add more to taste.

      You might also consider replacing the sugar/creamer with condensed milk, which is how Hong Kong style milk tea is made. I would love to hear how it goes! 🙂

      • Dakota says:

        Ooh, that’s an idea I hadn’t considered (condensed milk). I’m going to have to try this, thank you!

        And the fried rice… mmm. Had some this weekend and I’m going to have to reverse engineer it. Best stuff EVER. And the kids liked it, bonus!

  5. Serena says:

    No wonder HK-style milk tea is also cheaper… There’s way less work involved!

    • joellen says:

      Haha well I like both styles very, very much! For hot tea, I prefer HK-style, actually!